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The 'title card' from Lost in Language.

while i was watching Lost in Language, i was surprised by how quickly the whole thing seemed to fly, given how much it's going to influence our understanding of some key characters going forward. maybe it's the pretty thin B-plot, or the general breeziness that having a fun haunted library adventure lends to the episode. i certainly have less notes than i was expecting, but some of that can be chalked up to jotting things down quickly to better dig in here, where people actually get to see the things my brain cooks up.

Luz has successfully gotten King hooked on her Good Witch Azura books, and our immediate glimpse of this is Luz swooning over the power fantasy of being able to befriend even her biggest rival. again, Luz's very particular media literacy coming into play - the dream she's pursuing by staying in the Demon Realm isn't just about the literal power of magic, but the sense of belonging and confidence she seeks to establish for herself. it's about being a cool witch and being friends with her cool rival, in equal measure. King isn't having any of it, though, as he just wants to hear more of the story.

storytime is interrupted, though, as a package has arrived for Eda, containing a strange creature and a note from the Bat Queen, who Eda describes as wildly wealthy, enough so for her to overcome her distaste for parenting and try babysitting the miniature bat demon for a hefty paycheck. there's not especially much to this diversion, aside from a few excellent lines (one of my favorites being King's immediate, weirdly meta instinct to 'invent a TV network, for ages six to eleven') so i don't have a lot to say about it right now, but it is at least a cute little side story, and some cute little Matryoshka doll-esque bat babies.

A screenshot from Lost in Language, with Luz peeking past a corner to see Amity reading.

that leaves us with plenty of breathing room for covering our main plot, which sees Luz heading to the library to run errands for Eda. of all the fish out of water magical comedy in this show so far, a lot of this stuff here lands the best, with bits like Luz getting shushed while dangling precariously off a levitating book or the "get LEARNED at the stake!" posters. eventually, though, all these hijinks give way to Luz stumbling upon Amity, who's showing off an uncharacteristic soft side by reading a storybook to some little kids. pretty much immediately, Luz puts two and two together, realizing that she herself now has a bit of a cool rival that she can try to befriend by appealing to her unexpectedly kind nature.

Amity, like any proper cool rival, immediately puts up walls and insists this is just for extra credit at school, also happening to deliver what i'd argue is maybe the funniest line in the show, not even so far but just in general -

Do you see me going to the Owl Shack and bugging you while you... fry up owls? Okay, I don't really know what you do there.

hilarious owl-based misunderstandings aside, Amity's cold shoulder here actually takes a pretty interesting form, at least in my opinion, as she correctly points out that every time she and Luz have interacted so far, it's ended in some form of trouble for her. this episode ends up doing a lot of groundwork like this to give Amity some more depth as a character, and i do enjoy this first move - there's definitely a way we've been led to perceive her so far, mostly from how she treats Willow, that Amity relishes in the opportunity to be mean. i wouldn't argue she's in the right here, or that she hasn't been a bit of a bully in the past, but i will argue that if the move here is to make her a more complex character, attributing her treatment of Luz to almost a fearful assumption that getting involved with her invariably leads to trouble does give us an opportunity to see her as a more three-dimensional person.

A screenshot from Lost in Language, with Edric and Emira handing Amity her lunch.

Luz is, understandably, bummed out by this, but she's quickly given an out when Amity's older twin siblings arrive. i'm not necessarily great at analyzing 'accurate' portrayals of siblings, given i don't have any, but Edric and Emira here fall squarely into the 'loving pranksters who'll embarrass you by calling you funny names like Mittens' sub-genre. they immediately take a liking to Luz, seemingly out of sheer joy for how mad this makes Amity, and we get a bit more fun magic library humor, although my favorite and decidely non-magical bit here is the librarian who keeps having existential crises and eventually just flat-out slides into a scene on his knees to immediately start sobbing before anyone's done anything to cause it.

eventually, after getting kicked out, the twins decide to clue Luz in to their next bit of mischief, breaking back into the library at night to see if the rumors of the mysterious Wailing Star unlocking some strange magic are true. Luz accepts and, absolutely adorably, tries a variety of poses to look cool before realizing she wasn't the first one to make it back to the library. once they're in, the star brings the books to life, and we get... more stuff that i can really just sum up as 'Luz has fun in a magic library', except this time with the added flavor that the books are doing a different type of weird thing, like Snowballs, A History firing off rapid-fire snowballs or Witch Wares Weekly granting Luz some killer Cloud Strife cosplay. maybe that's why this one felt short, in a sense? the bits aren't bad, but there's a lot of time spent on characters not talking and therefore me having less interesting new stuff to write about.

dialogue does once again enter the picture, though, when Edric and Emira reveal two less wholesome bits of information about their late-night library visit. first, they've discovered that drawing in the books physically impacts the things they summon, as shown by putting massive muscle legs onto a duck, and though Luz can't bring herself to do it, Edric steps in and vandalizes the Otabin book that Amity was reading earlier, only needing some angry eyes and sharp claws to turn the rabbit-esque main character into a hulking behemoth. secondly, the Wailing Star's magic is hardly the reason they've broken in to begin with.

Luz's immediate assumption when the twins reveal a hidden study in the library is that it's some kind of cool hideout for them, but they dismiss the idea of hanging out in a library for fun and reveal that it's actually Amity's secret room, and that they intend to take her diary and post the pages up around school, as retaliation for her getting them in trouble for doing things like, say, breaking into libraries at midnight. it's also in here that Luz finds a set of Good Witch Azura books, and hey, sidebar, doesn't this make the witch's duel stuff from Covention way better, knowing that Amity is also the exact same type of nerd as Luz about this stuff?

A screenshot from Lost in Language, with the Wailing Star animating Amity's diary.

anyways, one of these books turns out to be Amity's diary in disguise, and since the Wailing Star animates all books equally, we get to hear Amity's innermost thoughts in her own voice and tone. as you can imagine, this is a real fasttrack into giving Amity some interiority as a character! there's a lot to unpack in even just the snippets we do see, like how she slips up and calls her teacher 'mom' or compulsively apologizes to her own diary for not writing in it enough.

Edric and Emira catch on to what Luz has quickly and insist that Amity deserves this, not just for how she treats people, but for how she's treated Luz specifically. Luz, showing where the strengths of her moral fiber lie, immediately refuses without even considering payback, saying that nobody deserves to have this type of thing aired out, and honestly, good on her, this type of respect for other people does a lot to endear me to her not just as a fun character but as a compelling hero figure. unfortunately, Amity only has her pre-conceived notions of Luz = trouble reaffirmed when she walks in on her rival trying to gather up the scattered pages.

i really like the way this scene plays out - the conflict here isn't a flat predictable misunderstanding, because she can see clear as day that Edric and Emira are behind this somehow, they're literally in the room together and she accurately pins a lot of blame on them. with Luz, she's just conflicted, and comes across as almost disappointed. she says she's had a lot of trouble trying to figure out what type of person Luz even is, and sure, there's only two real prior examples to draw from, but as a viewer, i can totally put myself in Amity's shoes and see how Luz's fun adventures, from Amity's point of view, make her unpredictable and hard to get a read on. ultimately, with this, she comes to the conclusion that Luz is a bully, and while i, watching a piece of fiction, know she's wrong about this, i feel like i can certainly wrap my head around both of the people here and how they wind up feeling these ways. that's good character writing, and it's what i keep coming back to this show for.

Edric and Emira brush the whole thing off and leave, but Luz is determined to stick around and make things right, and i feel like this episode is an excellent example of something we see a lot with Luz. she started this story wanting to befriend a rival because it's something cool from her books, but now she's here putting that work in simply because it's the noble thing to do in this situation. the wish fulfillment, isekai-ish angle is the initial approach, but also, at the end of the day, Luz is a pretty good person.

A screenshot from Lost in Language, with Otabin capturing Luz and Amity.

unfortunately, that big giant Otabin monster sure is out and about, and has taken the original book's message of friendship and decided to sew people into giant books using magic thread. i really love the design of the monster-ized Otabin here, with the book as an open beating hard and a magical glow for emphasis around the features Edric scribbled on. Otabin steals Amity away, but Luz comes in, having used Amity's diary to grant herself an Azura costume and magic staff... which Otabin effortlessly tosses aside. luckily, when Otabin stitches the two to the book, he does it arms first, leaving Luz free to lead Amity in a clumsy escape. when she admits she has no plan after this and lets her full dorky self shine through, Luz finally earns a smile and chuckle out of Amity.

when Otabin catches up, he takes Luz first this time and almost manages to completely sew her into the book, but Amity, using the same trick as Luz with a bit more clever application, creates a massive eraser with which they clean Otabin up, reverting him back to his meek adorable form. as the sun rises over Bonesborough (i have to assume - nobody's gotten to work yet to get them in trouble?), the two leave. Amity doesn't seem eager to change her mind about Luz at first, but when Luz lends her the missing fifth volume in her Azura collection, Amity honestly thanks her and admits she might need to rethink some things, about Luz and herself.

A screenshot from Lost in Language, with the Bat Queen arriving at the Owl House to pay Eda.

back at the Owl House, Eda and King have finally come around to the bat babies and fallen asleep when the Bat Queen finally arrives, spitting up a massive treasure chest and a whistle, cryptically promising that Eda is 'owed one' before heading off. the babysitters are sad to see the demons go, but thankfully, Luz has come through with a book on empty nest syndrome, and everyone can be united in not wanting to hear what Hooty's night was like.

there are a few stretches of Lost in Language can come off as sort of narrative dead air, but even those are some genuinely pretty fun sequences, and i feel like the writers are finding their footing with this show's comedic voice every episode. more importantly for the sake of long-term analysis, though - when this episode is digging into characters, it's digging deep, and setting up things that are going to be important for the rest of the show. Luz has acknowledged the narrative of befriending a rival in-universe, and this episode puts in the legwork to start giving Amity enough depth that you can feasibly see it happening. if that doesn't work out, it's only going to make it sting all the more, knowing how conflicted Amity really is. who's to say what'll happen? me. i'm to say, since i've seen the show. also the writers. but not you, if you're watching the show for the first time. and doesn't this type of thing make you want to keep finding out more? because it does for me. like i said earlier, it's good character writing, and it's kept me coming back to this show.

next time on The Owl House - Luz re-enacts that one famous movie! i forget what it's called. Freaky Fraturday or something like that.

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